Discuss the complexity of working with clients who are also pregnant. How would a pregnancy change your approach to treatment? What issues might come up for you as a counselor? How might you talk about these risks with your client? How would you respond if your client continued to heavily drink or use substances while pregnant?
I have to be perfectly honest, I was thinking long and hard about how I would feel sitting down with a person who while pregnant, abused drugs or alcohol. Years ago, I would have judged them, and treated them with disdain. Now that I have some cursory knowledge of addiction, and the effects of it, I have changed my tune. I am pretty sure I would feel a little upset. Yet, I would also remember that no mother wants to harm her unborn child if she is thinking properly. There has to be issues going on here. Comorbidity would immediately come to mind. I would harken back to my textbook and think about the Biological, Psychological, and Social aspects to consider while trying to understand, and connect with the client.
Furthermore, I would explain to the client the ramifications that her actions have on her life, and the life of her child.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a preventable form of mental retardation. It can cause all sorts of developmental problems for the child.
According to Capuzzi and Stauffer (2012), “Addicted pregnant women might also deliver prematurely, experience vaginal infections, and suffer miscarriages.”
If my client continued to drink alcohol or abuse drugs despite my best efforts, I would explain to her that their may be options for her to go and get specialized help for her problems. I would try to reassure her that all involved have her, and her unborn child’s interest at heart, and that we could work together to accomplish her goals. I would try to get her to a facility that could not only provide treatment for her, but would also be supportive of her if she has a family, for her childcare needs. Cost may be a prohibitive factor to consider.
I feel that it is my duty as a human being to seek justice for those who cannot do it for themselves. I do not care what ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation that person is. I think of it as basic humanity.
The reason I got into this field was to hopefully be used as a resource or tool, for those whose voices may not have a chance to be heard under normal circumstances.
Here are a few websites that have specific information on addictions counseling for the LGBT community.
I liked this program because they specifically mentioned that because of fear or prejudice, many in the LGBTQI community may not seek help for addiction at traditional facilities, and emphasizes that their staff “strongly believe in the diversity of the individual and honor their dignity and self worth.” They took pains to mention that they provide a safe and supportive environment, and list all the programs that they have to offer.
What I really liked about them is that they took insurance. Not everyone can afford to pay $150-$200 per session to see a counselor. Also they seemed to have put some thought into working with people who have real jobs. The company offered convenient schedules, in the day or evening in order to accommodate people. They also emphasized their cultural competence. From the looks of their team bio’s, they seem to have an array of experience in various forms of addictions treatment.
I liked these guys because they mentioned the violence that the LGBTQI community faces, and mens sexual health, and substance abuse (especially methamphetamine use), counseling, and relapse counseling for those in need. Since San Diego is a military town, they took it upon themselves to add a LGBT Veterans Wall on their website, to honor those who sacrificed for their country. Very cool.
This is a site with information throughout the country, and their mission statement.
The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies is a membership organization founded in 1979 and dedicated to the prevention and treatment of alcoholism, substance abuse, and other addictions in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer communities.
mission is to confront all forms of oppression and discriminatory practices in the delivery of services to all people and to advocate for programs and services that affirm all genders and sexual orientations. NALGAP provides information, training, networking, and advocacy about addiction and related problems, and support for those engaged in the health professions, individuals in recovery, and others concerned about the health of gender and sexual minorities.”
I am sad to say, that I have not found a lot of counseling services tailored to the LGBTQI community. I hope this changes in years to come. It is very disheartening. I hope that I can be a part of the change that the community, and the country needs.
A quote from Michael Shelton, “62 programs in the entire country offer specialize treatment for LGBTs? We obviously have a lot more work to do. The Joint Commission, an independent not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, concluded that the “8.8 million lesbian, gay, and bisexual people now estimated to be living in the United States experience disparities not only in the prevalence of certain physical and mental health conditions, but also in health care due to lack of awareness and insensitivity to their unique needs.”
Capuzzi, D. & Stauffer, M. (2012). Foundations of addictions counseling (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ.: Pearson Education, Inc.